Iowa Speedway's oval grueling for weary IndyCar teams

  • Article by: LUKE MEREDITH , AP Sports Writer
  • Updated: June 22, 2013 - 5:25 PM

NEWTON, Iowa — For the most part, IndyCar drivers enjoy racing at Iowa Speedway.

That doesn't mean Sunday's race is going to be easy.

The temperatures expected to reach the low 90s by the time the green flag drops. It's also the last of five straight races without a break, and few tracks in the IndyCar Series are as physically demanding as Iowa's steep-banked, .875-mile oval.

Though Iowa's "bullring" setup is great for the fans, it's easy to see why many drivers think the smallest oval on the IndyCar circuit is also the most draining one this season.

"It's probably the toughest (track), especially after five weeks. It is what it is. That's why we prepare ourselves for that," Tony Kanaan said. "Myself physically, I tried to be ready because I knew it was going to be a long stretch. But you can tell. Everybody's getting tired."

Iowa isn't exact the ideal place for a weary race team.

It's so small that drivers are turning four times about every 17 seconds — at speeds of up to 185 mph. That, combined with some of the steepest banking in IndyCar and the lack of a true straightaway, puts tremendous physical pressure on the drivers.

Brad Goldberg, an engineer for the No. 83 Chip Ganassi Racing car driven by Charlie Kimball, said that at Iowa the G-force is roughly five times a driver's body weight laterally and twice that vertically at its peak.

Even though the banking at Texas is steeper than at Iowa, at least that 1.5-mile oval offers a pair of straightaways that give drivers a chance to catch their breath.

"If you're a 200-pound guy, you'd basically have 400 pounds you're trying to squat and 1,000 pounds you're trying to hold yourself up against. If you can imagine trying to do that at the same time in a weight room, that's what they feel twice a lap," Goldberg said.

The cold winters and hot summers have also added character to the track since its first IndyCar race in 2007, with a significant bump in the second turn and warping in the final one.

Those imperfections can make a driver momentarily lose and then regain control as though they're driving in a snowstorm 500 times in a 250-lap race.

Of course, snow is the last thing drivers will need to worry about on a weekend when the track temperature will likely hit 120 degrees.

Such oppressive heat can cause dehydration, which can lead to a lack of focus on a track that demands constant concentration.

Still, focus can be elusive for teams that haven't had a real break since the end of April — by far the longest such stretch of the year.

"It's not so much as just drivers, but the poor guys working on the car. They don't have days off," Goldberg said. "When we're back at the shop, we're not just sitting by the pool drinking margaritas."

But even with all the challenges Iowa presents, most drivers say that Iowa is among the more fun tracks they'll visit all year.

Iowa is reminiscent of the popular short tracks that dot the Midwest, and along with Milwaukee is the only oval of a mile or less left on the series.

"It's a fun place to race," Graham Rahal said. "It is a great place to go. You can get two lanes developed here. It makes it enjoyable, puts on a good show."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
Toronto 110 FINAL
LA Clippers 98
Boston 88 FINAL
Washington 101
Orlando 102 FINAL
Charlotte 94
Memphis 103 FINAL
Miami 95
Indiana 110 FINAL
Brooklyn 85
New Orleans 100 FINAL
Chicago 107
Atlanta 90 FINAL
Milwaukee 85
Philadelphia 71 FINAL
Utah 88
New York 129 FINAL
Sacramento 135
Minnesota 97 FINAL
Golden State 110
NY Islanders 3 FINAL(SO)
Buffalo 4
Detroit 3 FINAL(OT)
Ottawa 2
Carolina 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay 2
New Jersey 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 3
Boston 2 FINAL
Columbus 6
Winnipeg 4 FINAL(OT)
Minnesota 3
Washington 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 0
Dallas 4 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Nashville 4
Anaheim 1 FINAL(SO)
Arizona 2
Chicago 5 FINAL
Colorado 2
Edmonton 1 FINAL
Calgary 4
San Jose 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 3
Indiana 87 FINAL
Georgetown 91
Maine 43 FINAL
Seton Hall 72
UNC-Wilmington 82 FINAL
Minnesota 108
Georgia State 61 FINAL
Green Bay 78
Jacksonville St 61 FINAL
Jacksonville 75
Kentucky 58 FINAL
Louisville 50
Northern Ky 55 FINAL
Northwestern 76
UAB 58 FINAL
North Carolina 89
IUPUI 55 FINAL
Pepperdine 53
Santa Clara 60 FINAL
St Marys-CA 73
Oakland 56 FINAL
Maryland 72
Gonzaga 87 FINAL
BYU 80
Mercer 77 FINAL
Georgia 86
San Francisco 77 FINAL
Pacific 71
Wright State 55 FINAL
Ohio State 100
Presbyterian 65 FINAL
Virginia Tech 87
Brescia 42 FINAL
Western Ky 89
Tennessee St 46 FINAL
Tennessee 67
Kennesaw St 45 FINAL
Illinois 93
Colorado State 58 FINAL
New Mexico St 57
Portland 61 FINAL
San Diego 58
Wayland Baptist 63 FINAL
Utah State 75
Bristol University 59 FINAL
Weber State 109
Sacramento St 74 FINAL
Utah Valley U 49
Southern Utah 45 FINAL
UNLV 79
SD Christian 50 FINAL
San Diego St 72
Illinois 18 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 35
Rutgers 40 FINAL
North Carolina 21
NC State 34 FINAL
UCF 27
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Virginia Tech 33
(15) Arizona State 36 FINAL
Duke 31
Miami-Florida 21 FINAL
So Carolina 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Penn State 31
(25) Nebraska 42 FINAL
(24) USC 45
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
East Carolina 1/3/15 11:00 AM
Florida
SMU 45 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 96
UCF 64 FINAL
Houston 50
BYU 62 FINAL
Gonzaga 78
Pacific 92 FINAL
San Francisco 54
St Marys-CA 62 FINAL
Santa Clara 61
San Diego 87 FINAL
Portland 65
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close